Michael Ware


NR: "...a reflection of part of the great debate at the very heart of al Qaeda's theology."

Length: 2:40

LARGE (37.2 MB) ----- SMALL (3.2 MB)

Don Lemon talks to Michael about the latest audiotape from Osama bin Laden (although he seems to forget that anchors ask the questions and the guest/expert answers them... no fair reading the notes!)

DON LEMON: But we start with breaking news about the world's most wanted man. Osama bin Laden is supposedly back with a new message, this time accusing Israel of a Holocaust.


OSAMA BIN LADEN, AL QAEDA LEADER (through translator): The Holocaust of Gaza in the midst of this long siege is an important and historic event, an articulate tragedy which affirms the need for detachment of the Muslims from the hypocrites. It is not right that our condition after what happened in Gaza be like our condition prior to it.


LEMON: CNN international correspondent Michael Ware joins us now. Michael, the al Qaeda leader's condemnation towards Israel is posted on an Islamic website.

MICHAEL WARE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Don. And in many ways, in terms of Jihadi rhetoric and propaganda, this is a no-brainer by Osama bin Laden. The issue of Palestine clearly at the heart of much of the Islamic militarism that we see in the Middle East, and of course Israel being the primary target for all of these militants.

Now, some things to note, however, is that firstly, we're hearing from Osama again. Yet another reminder that he's still out there.

Also, we see that al Sahab, the al Qaeda media production company, is maintaining its track record of some sophistication. We see that the statement is being released with English and Arabic transcripts, and with English subtitles. We haven't had to subtitle that. They've done that for us. So it's also a message to the west. We don't see Osama. But then again, why would he have to reveal his hand?

LEMON: Michael, speaking of the west, during the half-hour recording he also condemns what he calls the moderate Arab countries who allow the U.S. to maintain influence in the Middle East.

WARE: Perfect point on that. That was just what I was about to come to. This, again, is a reflection of part of the great debate at the very heart of al Qaeda's theology. Now in terms of al Qaeda's Jihad or holy war, there are two tracks, among many. But primarily, it's the near enemy versus the far enemy. On 9/11, we saw an attack on the far enemy.

But for Osama, from the classic old school of al Qaeda, one of the main enemies should be these Arab states that are seen as apostates, or unbelievers who have betrayed Islam, and who are assisting either America or Israel, either in act or omission. So, in many ways, that kind of targeting of Egypt and the other Arab states is classic al Qaeda doctrine.

LEMON: CNN international correspondent Michael Ware, we appreciate you for joining us now.